Geneva [Switzerland], June 2: Thirty non-endemic countries have reported more than 550 confirmed cases of monkeypox, the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
"Investigations are ongoing, but the sudden appearance of monkeypox in many countries at the same time suggests there may have been undetected transmission for some time," Tedros told journalists at WHO's Geneva headquarters on Wednesday.
"But all of us must work hard to fight stigma, which is not just wrong, it could also prevent infected individuals from seeking care, making it harder to stop transmission," warned the WHO chief, urging affected countries to widen their surveillance to the broader community.
Anyone risks infection if they have close physical contact with someone who has Monkeypox. Tedros noted that as the situation is evolving, WHO expects more cases to be found.
"It's important to remember that generally, Monkeypox symptoms resolve on their own, but can be severe in some cases," he added.
WHO continues to receive updates on the status of ongoing Monkeypox outbreaks in African countries where the disease is epedmic.
The top WHO official outlined his priorities to provide accurate information to those most at-risk; prevent further spread among those at high risk; protect frontline health workers; and advance "our understanding" of the disease, said UN in its press release.
In view of the increasing reports of Monkeypox (MPX) cases in non-endemic countries, India's Health Ministry on Tuesday acted proactively and issued 'Guidelines on Management of Monkeypox Disease' to ensure advance preparedness across the country.
"There are no reported cases of monkeypox disease in India, as of date," the Health Ministry said in a statement.
The Guidelines on Management of Monkeypox Disease include the epidemiology of the disease (including host, incubation period, period of communicability, and mode of transmission; contact and case definitions; clinical features and its complication, diagnosis, case management, risk communication, guidance on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) including use of personal protective equipment.
The Ministry further said that the Monkeypox has been reported as endemic in several other central and western African countries such as Cameroon, Central African Republic, Cote d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo, and Sierra Leone. However, cases have been also reported in certain non-endemic countries e.g. USA, United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Australia, Canada, Austria, Israel, Switzerland, etc.